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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. J. Aubertin   4 March 1871

Windham Club. | St. James’s Square. | S.W.

March 4. 1871

Dear Mr. Darwin

Thanks for your letter. I shall certainly come down some day to the Orpington Station & find my way to your house—1

But I am very sorry to hear that you are so much out of health: & the more so from the selfish motive that I shall not be able to renew those old conversations I used to have with you, except under short restrictions. For myself I am of course very different from what I was at Ilkley—2 Dr Smith did me much good, & the Brazilian climate was the best change for me that could be afterwards—3 But I am still forcibly reminded in many ways that there was much bungling at my creation.

What a sad account you give me of poor Miss Butler!4 I had, of course, no notion she was even dead: & certainly not, how! Death appears able to show as much “infinite variety” as any other phenomenon! But while all his various features are left behind & seen, he himself is just as much a mystery as ever! Will he be worth knowing after all?—

So shattered France at last makes Peace! And they, who by their own acts brought her to her present necessity of accepting the terms proposed, of course turn round upon the others for having submitted to them!5

Is not this—the old tail?!

With kind regards to Mrs. Darwin | Faithfully yours | J. J. Aubertin.


Ilkley Wells, Yorkshire. See letter from J. J. Aubertin, 1 March 1871 and n. 1.
Aubertin refers to Edmund Smith. Aubertin lived in Brazil from 1860 to 1869 (R. Graham 1968, pp. 67–8).
Aubertin refers to the Franco-Prussian war and probably to the terms of the armistice accepted by the French National Assembly on 1 March 1871 (see Wawro 2003, pp. 303–5).


Thanks for letter and invitation to come to Down.

Sorry about CD’s bad health; Brazilian climate has improved his own.

Sorry to hear Miss Butler is dead.

Letter details

Letter no.
John James Aubertin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Windham Club
Source of text
DAR 159: 126
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7545,” accessed on 27 April 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19